The Four noble Truths (again)

The Four Noble Truths

Suffering, attachment, freedom from attachment and the Noble Eightfold Path.

Elsewhere I was called a fundamentalist. And that fundamentalism is not the middle way. I am not sure if that is really true or not. But This is the fundemental teaching of the Buddha Dharma.

There are to many great teachers out there that have done commentaries on this subject but a lot of people seem to not understand or have the knowhow to look it up for themselves.

Here it is for me.
Suffering: That stuff in life that bothers us. Conditions real or imagined it is all the same. Sometimes we don't even recognize it as suffering. Maybe even most of the time. For me to key into it took the suffering of others in mass.

Attachment to desires: We want stuff that we think will end our suffering. It doesn't matter who you are Bill Gates suffers to, he just has a different kind of suffering than you and I do.

An end to suffering. Stop wanting! This seems impossible for a lot of things. How can a prisoner stop wanting to get out of prison? a crippled person to stop wanting to get out of a wheelchair? A Marine stop wanting to no longer see death, fear, and anger all around him.

The answer to how to end suffering? That good old Noble Eightfold Path.

Right View: looking at things from a third perspective not limiting yourself to ideas of good or bad. Just things as they are.

Fight Intention: The will to commit yourself to this eighfold path among other things. Can you?

Right Thought: To not have a fault finding mind. In a world of critics this is hard. Just try to see the beauty around you.

Right Speech: I covered this in detail as "Kind Speech" and "Love Words"

Right Action: Just do the right thing, simple right?

Right livelihood: don't work in a job that harms others. I know this sounds strange coming from the guy with a gun. Don't sell drugs, be a thief, or make a living off of causing suffering to others.

Right Effort: Are you really so busy that you cant turn off the TV and do some thing good for you like practicing the next two steps of the path.

Right Mindfulness: Just be aware of what's going on, don't worry it will get better the more aware you are because for all the bad things that are so important to you now are far outweighed by the beauty that surrounds us. WAKE UP!

Right Concentration: Meditation takes care of this and allows you to hone this part of the path.

This sure is not the end all be all of this subject from me and like I said there are a lot of good commentaries on it. I hope this one helps someone.

Be well and happy!


Anonymous said...

"Don't sell drugs, be a thief, or make a living off of causing suffering to others."

that pretty much eliminates 99% of modern work.. :)

Anonymous said...

jordan -

You mentioned beauty twice in your post. It can be easy to get hung up on beauty but we shouldn't imagine it to be something that it is not. beauty is not the flip side of ugliness. all things are both beautiful and ugly.

just grist for your blog.. :)

SlowZen said...

On your first comment, perspective, perspective, perspective.

On your second: yes, in Right Thought and in Right Mindfulness.
“all things are both beautiful and ugly.” Ajahn Brahm' gave a great Dharma talk about Two bad bricks
I try to look at thing in my life, weather fortunate or unfortunate as just being features, of course some of these features are more enjoyable than others, Ha!

Grist, this may be my next blog heading!

Thank you for your comments!
Be well and happy

Anonymous said...


Thank you for the post.
Have you ever read the Avatamsaka Sutra? The eighth book gives an awesome explication of the four noble truths from a vast array of perspectives. Check it out sometime...

As for the notion that:

“all things are both beautiful and ugly.”

I don't know if I can go along with that. When Shakyamuni Buddha saw the morning star and awakened, he said, "How wonderful! How wonderful! All beings are the Tathagata!" Did he think it was both "wonderful" and "awful"? I don't think so.

And how about Case 6 of the Blue Cliff Record:

Ummon said, "I don't ask about before the fifteenth day; try to make a statement about after the fifteenth day."

He himself replied, "Every day is a good day."
(Secrets of the Blue Cliff Record, Thomas Cleary)

Do you think Ummon could just have easily said, "Every day is a bad day?" I don't think so. But then again, who am I? Ha!

Take care man.

Gassho, Ted

Anonymous said...

Ted - The Buddha was a man and I am sure that things would seem very beautiful to him at times. But beauty is in the eye of the beholder. We can place concepts like beautiful and ugly on to things that can be both or neither depending on whether it is you or me that is looking at them. Some people will think that a Van Gogh painting is incredibly beautiful. Some people will think that it is butt ugly. Both of those statements are true. The painting is both beautiful and ugly and not beautiful and not ugly. Beauty is not so much about a painting as it is about the viewer. It is like that for all things I think.

The Buddha might have looked at the morning star and thought it was both wonderful and awful. Wonderful can infer total confusion and awful can mean solemnly impressive. As it is for words so it is for concepts.

And of course, Everyday is a bad day for someone somewhere. :)

SlowZen said...


I have only been able to find a few parts of the Avatamsaka Sutra online. Thomas Cleary’s translation is selling for $66.00 on Amazon, So much for the Dharma being free.

Ted & Oxeye,
As for the opposing views caused by dualism: I am of a mind that there is something difficult to express beyond the dualistic thinking of beautiful and ugly, good and bad, Wholesome and unwholesome, right and wrong, light and dark etc. This is often suggested when trying to work with Koans.

But I suggest that we look at the expressions as being exactly what they are without the concept of opposites. For the sake of my expression using the dualistic term of beauty, this is what I was going for. I hope that makes good sense, if it doesn’t, sorry, I'm still slow.

Be well and happy!

Anonymous said...

jordan, it makes perfect sense. much more than i make.. heh

Anonymous said...

Hey Jordan,

$66 for a good copy of the Avatamsaka Sutra is a pretty good deal. It is a massive book (a collection of books, actually). I highly recommend it. It is definitely one of the top 5 (at least) most important Sutras of Mahayana.

Beauty is in the ox-eye of the beholder. Thanks for your comments.

"Beauty is not so much about a painting as it is about the viewer." Now if I can just get a grasp on who my true "viewer" is, maybe I will be enlightened. Ha!

Gassho, Ted

Thanks for looking!